Jimmie Higgins eBook

This eBook from the Gutenberg Project consists of approximately 312 pages of information about Jimmie Higgins.

But then came another controversy.  Claudel moved that Norwood should be made a member of the committee; and this, of course, was bitterly opposed by the radicals.  It was an insult to the integrity of the committee.  Then, too, suggested Baggs, an Englishman, perhaps Norwood might really find out something!  The Jimmie Higginses voted down the motion—­not because they feared any disclosures, but because they felt that a quiet, sensible fellow like Gerrity, their organizer, might be trusted to protect the good faith of the movement, and without antagonizing anybody or making a fuss.

The investigation took place, and the result of it was that the money which Jerry Coleman had contributed for the Worker was quietly returned to him.  But the difference was at once made up by the Germans in the local, who regarded the whole thing as a put-up job, an effort to block the agitation for a strike.  These comrades took no stock whatever in the talk about “German gold”; but on the other hand they were keenly on the alert for the influence of Russian gold, which they knew was being openly distributed by old Abel Granitch.  And so they put their hands down into their pockets and dug out their scanty wages, so that the demand for social justice might be kept alive in Leesville.

The upshot of the whole episode was that the local rejected the Kaiser’s pay, but went on doing what the Kaiser wanted without pay.  This could hardly be considered a satisfactory solution, but it was the best that Jimmie Higgins was able to work out at this time.

VI

The first issue of the Worker appeared, with Jack Smith’s editorial spread over the front page, calling upon the workers of the Empire to take this occasion to organize and demand their rights.  “Eight hours for work, eight hours for sleep, eight hours for play!” proclaimed Comrade Jack; and the Herald and the Courier, stung to a frenzy by the appearance of a poacher on their journalistic preserves, answered with broadsides about “German propaganda”.  The Herald got the story of what had happened in the local; also it printed a picture of “Wild Bill”, and an interview with that terror of the West, who declared that he was for war on the capitalist class with the aid of any and every ally that came along—­even to the extent of emery powder in ball-bearings and copper nails driven into fruit trees.

The Herald charged that the attitude of the Socialists toward “tainted wealth” was all a sham.  What had happened was simply that the German members of the local were getting German money, and making it “Socialist money” by the simple device of passing it through their consecrated hands.  As this had been hinted by Norwood in the local, the German comrades now charged that Norwood had betrayed the movement to the capitalist press.  And so came another bitter controversy in the local.  The young lawyer laughed at the charge.  Did they really believe they could take German money in Leesville, and not have the fact become known?

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Jimmie Higgins from Project Gutenberg. Public domain.
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